The Second Truth

Truth – 1. Conformity to knowledge, fact, or actuality; veracity.  2. Something that is the case; the real state of affairs.  3. Reality; actuality.  4. A statement proven to be or accepted as true.  5. Sincerity; honesty. – American Heritage Dictionary

By looking at the above definition of truth, one will think that truth is one-sided, as we have traditionally learned to believe.  “There is only one truth” is a phrase that we have heard many times, and possibly agreed with it.  I say, we should consider a second truth, not only when the first truth does not suffice, but always.  To illustrate this point, let me relate to you something I overheard this morning at the post office.  This post was inspired by that conversation.

A man was talking to the clerk about a problem with his red mustang (later I saw the man at the parking lot pulling out in the new model).  Apparently, something had been wrong with it and the mechanic took time figuring out what it was.  The man was making these comments, feeling certain that he knew the truth.

Mustang Man“These mechanics know nothing these days.  They cannot figure out the problem unless they hook the car to a machine.  I remember when good mechanics used to know what was wrong with the car just by listening to it – blah, blah, blah …”

Mustang Man continued to share his wisdom and the more truth he felt he shared the better he seemed to feel, and he left the post office smiling and wishing the clerk a great day.  The clerk seemed to agree with him as well.  I was smiling, and Mustang Man smiled and gestured a good-bye to me.  However, I was smiling, not because I agreed with his truth, but because I knew of a second truth.  There, I saw how truth is based on our own experiences and the knowledge we have at the moment of a particular subject.

My truth – My truth is based on different information and knowledge of the subject.  See, I am married to a mechanic, and by default, a lot of the knowledge has trickled down to me.  Many times, I find myself in conversation with my sister, and she tells me – “the mechanic just told me what you just thought it may be.”  I laugh because, in 25 years of marriage, I have become a sponge, learning little bits by osmosis.  Through my husband I have learned that today’s cars are not even a shadow of what cars where many years ago – possibly the time -frame Mustang Man was talking about.  Today’s cars are computerized beasts full of software and sensors that depend on one another, like a steampunk symphony, one thing affecting the other but not necessarily becoming a part of it.  Today’s mechanics are more knowledgeable in terms of absorbing and learning more information, and knowing different systems, than yesteryear mechanics.  They need to learn software, and learn to use it to be able to diagnose a car properly.  Today’s computerized beasts are more than motor and spark, therefore requiring precise computerized adjustments.  With so many sensors and software systems, one little issue may trigger another, and therefore making it more difficult to diagnose.  This would be impossible to do by a yesteryear mechanic  or a.k.a. Mustang Man’s hero.

Another issue with today’s systems is that they keep changing at fast pace, as technology changes, and the consumer seems to want more “bells and whistles” and comforts.  This creates the need for better trained mechanics who undergo continuing education through their jobs.  High end cars, have very sophisticated computerized systems, that only become available to lower end models later on, or by special order – depending on the maker.

According to Mustang Man’s truth, which was based on old-fashion knowledge of automotive systems and an admiration for the good ole’ mechanic, today’s mechanics know nothing.  According to my truth, which is based on more current information on automotive systems and my admiration for my mechanic hubby, today’s mechanics are more knowledgeable and educated.  Two truths that are completely opposite and both influenced by the observer/participant experience.

And that is why you should always consider the second truth – learn, explore, inform yourself, and then make up your mind, before uttering your only truth.

English: Own Work, Public Domain School in Col...

English: Own Work, Public Domain School in Columbus Avenue, New York, NY, USA. Category:Images of automobiles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pursuit of a Simple Life is Not Simple

It may seem as a contradiction but it has been my experience. Maybe, I over think stuff, maybe I am over-committed to stuff (and I don’t mean material stuff), but for many, the pursue of a simple life has started by abandoning all that is, and starting fresh; not my case. I love to hear stories about people who have made radical changes and quickly left their jobs, old life, material ties, and abandoned themselves to the pursuit of a meaningful and simple life, whether traveling the world, or doing something totally different – careers … Yes, I love those stories and deep inside, I wish I could do the same.

However, when I started the pursuit of a simple life, life got in the way of it. How it happens? To each its own, and circumstances are individual, that is the only explanation I have. It has taken work, time, and effort to start this pursuit – it almost takes all the fun out of it, right?

For me, the simple life goes beyond the abandonment of the current – it has taken the path of learning a new lifestyle, of changing career, understanding spirituality, and the attempt of moving physical locations, along with the systematic purging of the material, and the fulfillment of some material commitments as well. All that takes time, and it will take as much time as you are deep in it. Somehow, the simple becomes slow, systematic, complicated … far.

As long as there is an understanding of this reality, the pursuit of a simple life becomes a dream, a goal, an aspiration. You learn to ditch, you learn to do, you learn, and you learn, and at one point you get tired of learning and doing, and you want to learn to ditch more, but life becomes reality, and simplicity becomes a place down the road, and the wheels suffer wear and tear. It makes you think of the one who have jumped in the pursuit with no regrets and no second thoughts of what is behind – have they? I will never know – to each, its own.

One thing is for sure, the simple life does require other than a simplistic approach, at least, in my understanding. I have ditched, learned to do things different, to wait for the right time to be able to change physical locations, to change careers and to learn all needed to do that in the process, to deal with the close-minded, to deal with consequences, learned to accept time, and learned to let go of what doesn’t suit the simple life anymore – whether material, spiritual, or human.  In the meantime, I hope that time does not morph into lassitude, and pray that I don’t end up with broken wings.

monarch wings

I Think, Therefore I Am – Not!

English: Picture of the super starbrust galaxy...

English: Picture of the super starbrust galaxy. The green and red splotch in this image is the most active star-making galaxy in the very distant universe. Nicknamed “Baby Boom,” the galaxy is churning out an average of up to 4,000 stars per year, more than 100 times the number produced in our own Milky Way galaxy. It was spotted 12.3 billion light-years away by a suite of telescopes, including NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The French Philosopher Renee Descartes gave us a lot to think about when he said, “I think, therefore I am.”  I used to ponder a lot on this phrase, and although it seems to explain a lot of our behavior, somehow, it always felt incomplete to me.  Why?  Well, lets take this example, and this happens to me a lot.  My husband jokes, “Oh, she’s thinking about it, soon I’ll see it.”  And this is true for me, when I start thinking a lot about something, I end up doing it, and the ball starts rolling, unless I stop myself somehow, usually for a good reason.  But I think that Descartes phrase applies to emotion as well, if I think that I am upset, unhappy … I end up feeling that way.  However, this is where the phrase feels incomplete to me – in the “doing” part.  For the thinking to pass the threshold into reality, an action is required.

Creativity is in our nature, implanted in our right side of the brain; too bad that we have not developed it fully.  For me to think of something and make it real, the act of creation, of doing, must follow.  Rene Descartes phrase tells us of the great capacity of imagination and wonder that we have; our whole existence is based on ideas that came to reality, inventions that came to be, and gave birth to other technologies, but for all that to happen, one of us had to have an idea, imagine it, designed it, dream of it – Think of it.  The threads of reality vibrate when we think about this miracle – all you see around you, was an idea in someones’ mind at one point in time.  The computer in front of you, the cup of coffee next to you, the pen, the paper, the little knickknacks sitting on your desk… That reality came to be only, and only, after someone imagine it, and later it was created.

The magnificence of that realization, is so deep and beautiful that it only tells us that nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible – it just hasn’t been imagined yet, created.  Science, technologies, ideas, dreams, hopes … all of it swirls in a dance of creation, and in the end, it comes to be – it materializes and joins what we call “reality.”  Think about this, how profound … it spells no limits!  Reality comes after thought, after creativity, after creation – not before.  Many times, technologies have to be in place first, and this is where its beauty and amazement starts – we depend on each other to imagine, so we can create.  And we create because it is our nature, as we are part of creation itself, one source to it all.  Reality exists when one idea meets another and another and another … We are creators of reality and that is how we come to be – I THINK, IMAGINE, I CREATE, THEREFORE I AM!

Use a Mirror to Manage Writer’s Block

Hot air balloon water reflection Quebec

Image via Wikipedia

At one point or another, you may feel as if you cannot write or as if the story is not flowing quite the way it is supposed to flow.  You may think that you have been plagued by writer’s block (or artist’s block) and when you try to work on your novel or art, you cannot go back to it, as if something prevents you from it.  I have been there and what I found out was that it was not so much of a writer’s block, but more of a conflict with a particular part of the story.  It may be a character, beliefs, philosophy, or even a particular scene.  Somehow, you have an internal reaction or “a problem” with it.  It may be that you do not agree with something that you happen to be writing, but know that you have to write, whether it is to keep the story going, or by mere inspiration.  When you feel that you are stuck with the story, take a break and ponder about the last thing you wrote.  Take notice of how you feel about it, and if an internal bell rings.  This is a sign that you have something to work on (on yourself) before proceeding ahead with the story.  The way I see it (and this is only by my experience with this) is that you either,

  • acknowledge it and ignore it, meaning that you know the bug is there but you will ignore it and keep writing; however, it will come back along the way, impeding total free flow of your writing.
  • take a short break, acknowledge it, ponder it, and make peace with it.  I find that just because I may not agree with something in my story, that does not mean that I am selling out my beliefs.  In the case of an internal conflict that one of your characters or scenes brings up, acknowledge it, try to find the link between your conflict and the story, understand it and move on.

The main thing here is that by recognizing that there is an internal conflict you are looking in a mirror, and therefore, are starting to open the flow of your writing once more.  The mere act of looking at that reflection in the mirror is going to help unblock your writing.  At least for me, it works that way.

Hope this tip is of any help.

Of Faith and Seamonkeys

Have you ever doubt your existence?  I have to admit that since I noticed the change in lunar and solar activity (see previous post with pictures), I visited YouTube looking for videos of people who have experienced the same.  A few of them were jokes and alien propaganda … but others seemed legitimate, and were only of people filming what they thought was wrong with the moon or sun from their perspective or points of reference (a building, a window …)  This made me think a bit about my existence and what I think of it.

Here is how I see it.  I need a purpose to exist, the mere organic existence just doesn’t do it for me; I mean, I do believe in a Creator of all (although not in the traditional religious sense) and I have searched for my purpose for the longest.  It keeps me going through thick and thin.  In addition, I like the concept of faith – whether it is faith in a God or Creator, Spirit, Soul, Science, Beauty, the Human Spirit, or the Universe or universal and natural order of things.  The point is that I see purpose and faith in one of those above mentioned things closely related to our existence on the planet and the universe, whether you are an Atheist, Agnostic, a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist … you put your faith and purpose in something, even if you worship the Devil, you put your belief in something, and it gives you purpose to keep going in one direction.

Many of these videos talked about observations, theories, government conspiracy, a holographic moon, a fake moon, FEMA renting acres of land to store tons of coffins and aerial/terrestrial pictures and video of those … and other interesting stuff (as long as it was presented organized and in a serious way).  The topic of seamonkeys popped in my mind.  What if we were somebody’s seamonkeys?  What if we were an experiment, an organic test …?  What if our existence was a mere organic existence or one compared to a Truman Show existence?  What if there was no real purpose?

I did not like were my brain was headed – no purpose?  Then I asked myself how would I feel about this, if one day, I was told that there is nothing more than a tiny test terrarium called Earth and that it was all an interesting experiment, that evolution was just started to see how far it  would all go, and that we created everything else, given a few cues here and there.   I pondered this and I got my answer.  Here is my answer to that possibility.

First, realizing that the concepts of faith, purpose, science or creator, spirituality, or universal order  had been eliminated, I would be a very Pissed Human.  I would be mad at everything around me, then would have considered most of my existence futile and useless.  I would have no goals left, and I would crash for a while – my world, just as Truman’s world, would crash.  After that, one amazing thing started to happen once the fireworks and anger subsided – I looked around me and saw all the beauty inside the terrarium/tank, all the friends and loved ones, and all the other seamonkeys around it.  I saw the beauty that these creatures created out of nothing, out of a lie, and realized that all along, the faith and purpose, the creator, the science and the universe, was not outside the terrarium, but on the inside of every seamonkey on that terrarium called Earth.  After that, the rest didn’t matter at all, there was no anger, and there were only possibilities, tons of possibilities, many of them outside the terrarium, others on the inside, and many others, tons of them, in a world with no limits, no constraints, and no boundaries.

And that is, my friends,  the answer to my question.

When to Mind your Fabulous Business and Shut Up.

Duality of Mind

Image via Wikipedia

This morning, as I scanned the FB comments, I stopped at one made by Paolo Coelho – “What other people think of you is none of your business.”  I thought, excellent words of wisdom, but not easy to follow them.  The truth is that doing that is really very difficult because it goes against our human nature.  As a social species, we want to be liked by others,  and we love to be accepted and celebrated by others.  We want to share our wisdom with others, wether blogging, writing a book, talking to family or friends, thru a painting exposition …  We want to achieve but we also want those achievements to be recognized.  We do mind what other people think and say of us, and maybe we give too much importance on what others think of us.  That is why I thought that those words were such an epiphany – “What other people think of you is none of your business.”

If we lived that way we would be so much happier with the world around us and with the world within us.  We would be less critical of others and of ourselves.  We would spend less time worrying and sulking and more time dreaming and doing.  Ever tried to talk to someone who refutes or challenges every word that comes from your mouth – even if you are talking about laundry?  Well, I have, and let me tell you that it is the hardest thing to do, because it is impossible to have a normal conversation with that person.  This is when those words work well and instead of forcing a conversation or defending mine, I choose to mind my fabulous business and shut up, and in the way to happy land, I realize that Paolo Coelho is right – what other people think of me is none of my fabulous business.

Expanding Your Horizon

Rendition of Homer's view of the world (prior ...

Image via Wikipedia

If you are human, you have a set of beliefs.  Those beliefs form as you grow up and are highly influenced by culture, family, country … and many other things.  In a way, you identify with those beliefs, in a way, they are you, part of you.  I know people who are so set in their beliefs that refuse to explore beyond their horizon or entertain another point of view.  These people may fear that by opening their mind to receive information that may or may not contradict their belief system, they might cheat on that same system or worst, lose themselves – I pity them.  Why?  Because opening your mind to try to understand something and exploring information does not in any way diminish what you think, or believe; on the contrary, if you truly respect your beliefs, there is no need to fear new information.  What would have happened if all the explorers and scientists of the past had not stepped one foot pass their comfort zone (beliefs) and try to expand what they already knew or believed?  You answer that question, since the answer is obvious.

I used to write for a site and the community there seemed very friendly and loved commenting on each other’s work.  There was only one thing that drove me nuts, especially when I wrote a piece of poetry.  I write about many things, true or fictional, and many times, I love to imagine things poetically.  What drove me nuts?  That most times, people thought that the piece of poetry was directly related to me, as in true life.  I was too lazy to explain that it was just a piece of writing, many times fictional.

Don’t believe everything you read or are told; expand your horizon, move one step over the flat ocean’s edge and refresh your mind and spirit.  Think for yourself, believe what you must but after you consider the opposite point of view, there is no harm in that; who knows, it may even strengthen your beliefs.  As a writer, you owe it to yourself, and your readers … believe and expand your horizon.

Is Free Will Influenced by Our Beliefs?

Revisited

The topic of free will has been debated for centuries.  Each doctrine, religion, philosophy, or application has its own particular view of what constitutes free will and the ramifications for the human race, and more singular, for the individual.  For argument’s sake, let us define free will as the capacity given to a human being to choose, by using the process of rational thinking.  Assuming this definition to be generally correct, we enter into an already vague understanding of the concept.  For example, what happens when the thinking is not rational, as in the case of a mentally ill individual, psychopath or brain washed individual?  In this circumstance, does free will exists for that person?  Alternatively, let us think about the religious beliefs of someone.  Most likely, that person makes decisions according to what those beliefs determine as right or wrong.  In this case, is free will dominated by religion?  Let us take the case of the atheist who is not influenced by religion but has a defined set of morals, a sense of right and wrong, good and bad.  Most likely, the atheist will act and choose according to those values.  Does it mean that his/her free will is influenced by morals and not by God or religion?

What happens in the case of a child?  Is that child capable of making sound decisions?  Is free will capped by age?  Is free will something that we develop with age?  The same could be said by cultural limitations, socio-economic conditions, and philosophical and existential beliefs.  For example, let us look at destiny.  Are events in our lives already pre-destined to happen?  If they are, what happens with the capacity to direct your own life by exercising free will?  If the concept of destiny assures the confluence of events, places, and people at one particular moment in your life, how does that affect the free will to choose the events, places, and people in your life?  Astrology is another subject in question.  If you are supposed to be born under certain conditions, according to constellations and planet configuration, and according to your birth sign, there are certain characteristics that you share with others of the same sign – where is free will in that?  And if you belief in reincarnation, that presents a different set of challenges as how many lives you had and how does free will fits in each one of them.  A second chance to choose?

Moreover, how about your own personal family beliefs and teachings?  I bet you that if you were raised thinking that going to a ballroom and dancing was a capital sin – and you were religious about it – you would think twice before stepping foot into one.  And maybe this is all free will is, after all.  The ability to steer our lives, the best we can, according to where we are at a particular time of our lives, with the set of beliefs and morals that we have at that particular moment, and choosing the best we can.  Every decision has a set of consequences, and for every consequence, there is a set of events that will be generated and put into motion.  So maybe, free will has been given to us to keep the ball rolling, to keep this planet going – this human existence – until it is time to go where essence goes (or spirit, or energy, or whatever it is you call it).   Assuming that energy is eternal and that it cannot be destroyed (a scientific fact) but transforms, then in that case, is there a need for free will?

Vulcan Logic vs. The Secret

Vulcan (Star Trek)
Image via Wikipedia

This week I am revisiting some articles I wrote sometime ago.

Revisited – Vulcan Logic vs. The Secret

While watching a Star Trek movie the other day I heard Spock say one of his Vulcan logical statements:  “If you remove the impossible, what remains – even improbable, must then be the truth.”  When you look at the statement it truly makes sense.  This Vulcan philosophy presents a good logical explanation which can be applied to mostly any situation.  In our minds there is always a definition for what we consider impossible to be or to accomplish, and for every person this is different, given their current status, beliefs, cultural background, and financial/social position.  Therefore, everyone defines the impossible in their own way.  This presents a curious question:  what is truth for each one of us?  If we define the impossible in a unique perspective to our present situation, then by the same thinking process we must define truth in the same way.  According to Vulcan philosophy, “what remains must then be the truth” – when we eliminate the impossible – even if it is improbable.  This match of the Vulcan philosophy with our human way of defining the truth according to our own unique experience presents another interesting predicament:  logic vs. faith.

As humans we tend to have faith, to believe in the impossible or the improbable.  We put our faith in God, The Divine, and even in ourselves.  Atheists will put their faith in themselves or in some cases, science – for the sake of argument.  Most of us are familiar with The Ancient Law of Attraction, made known most recently by Rhonda Byrne and her bestseller “The Secret.”  According to this law, you can attract anything that you desire – positive or negative – to your life.  What you think, believe, speak and focus on, that is what you will attract.  It will materialize into your life because you are sending those vibrations back into the Universe; therefore, the Universe will respond back to you according to the energy sent.  So if you are a negative and fearful person you will encounter negative and unpleasant situations in your life.  The opposite is true if you are a positive person.  In simple words, it means, “what goes around comes around” – you get the idea.  According to the law of attraction EVERYTHING is possible.  This is an opposite view to the Vulcan philosophy and our human nature.  The Vulcan belief recognizes the impossible (we do to), the Secret philosophy or Law of attraction recognizes that anything and everything is possible.

We can do a reconciliation of this huge gap in beliefs by using the element of Faith to build a bridge.  Faith can be defined as the belief and certainty of what has not yet become.  By believing the impossible or the improbable to become true we are refuting Vulcan philosophy and human nature and accepting the law of attraction.  However if our faith is based on a negative perspective, then the impossible becomes reality.

Therefore, Logic, Human Nature, Faith, or Law of Attraction it is all up to you – what we may call Free Will – but that is another article.

Finding Your Own Paradigm

Truth!

Image via Wikipedia

The American Heritage Dictionary defines paradigm as:  an example or a model.

We follow paradigms all our lives (voluntary or involuntary), since the time we are born, till the time of our departure.  Standards are set, ideals, models of behavior, social patterns that we follow throughout our lives, sometimes, without questioning their validity.  We accept these models as truth, but sometimes these models fail us.  When this happens, it is time to reevaluate the standards and ideals on which we have put our faith.

Finding your own paradigm, creating your own system, is necessary if you want to accomplish what you have set out to achieve in your life.  Following predetermined systems, other people’s ideas of “what works” – blindly – guarantees many broken dreams, and tons of wasted precious time.

There are set models and standards that have been established to help the better functioning of society.  Our job as responsible individuals is to weigh those systems and take what is useful, apply it to our lives, and improve on it.  By learning to get in touch with our dreams, goals, inner desires, skills, and core beliefs, we give form to our own system – what works for us.

While creating your own system, you can expect to make waves, to raise eyebrows, and to get the unsolicited truth from “the know it all.”  You will have to endure the comments coming from your loved ones (the ones that hurt the most), as they cannot see pass beyond their reality and the label that they have assigned you through the years.  Their opinion is sometimes clouded by the expectations by which they live, and these by the paradigms that they have themselves accepted as true.  Many times, influenced by titles, society labels, and the general belief of the masses, that follow as blind cattle.  So what if you are the only one proud of what you do for a living?  What if it is taking longer for you to hit the “I made it” label?  The growth is slowly, many times, and each person is different.  This is the price to pay for following your truth.  “As you believe so shall become,” we have heard this adage before, simple but true.  The law of attraction says that what we think, believe, and visualize, becomes our reality.   The Bible, and many other uplifting philosophies reinforce the same premise.  Many turned into paradigms, many twisted by society, history, political powers … and so on.

My question to you is whose reality?